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Nov. 4th, 2008 @ 08:16 pm hope
Here we go, folks. Finally, America you are making sense. This is unfathomably huge.
OBAMA '08!!!
Mar. 16th, 2008 @ 01:57 pm It is Do-re-mi FANTAJII

Japanese only Milon's Secret Castle for the Super Famicom on Virtual Console! It's apparently not all that awesome, but I'm debating a download anyway. Also, inspired by a little of ferricide's recent Kirby thing, I have to show you a box art comparison for the original Milon's Secret Castle for NES/Famicom:


           USA                                                                                 JAPAN

I mean, it's just a bit odd that somebody built this scale replica of the titular secret castle in the first place. The Japanese cover is pretty   schizophrenic. It's like somebody got a little too attached to the cutsey cartoon drawing, and then realized that those guys at the model shop were going to go ballistic if they didn't shoehorn that castle in there somehow.

Anyway, download for 9$? I probably will. The super-fami game is apparently way less random and cruel than it's predecessor. When I was poking around for the above pictures, I also found out that there was also a gameboy release. I think it's cover pretty much wins.

Plus - Oh shit! We're having a baby in LESS THAN A MONTH.
Feb. 5th, 2008 @ 12:22 pm Yeah I stiiill... Smell her on yoooou...
Wow, the wind is really blowing out there and kicking up some serious whitecaps out on the sound (watching the water from the living room).

So, Karen and I do a fair bit of antique shopping. We both love looking at old stuff, and she has such a defined taste (loves chrome, art deco, and simple woodwork and lamps in the arts and crafts style) that half my fun is had in spotting things I know she'll like. Watching her dig through antique malls until her eyes glaze over reminds me of my days on the mean streets of Den-den Town in Osaka, browsing for used games.

One of the ways I keep myself busy is by going through the stacks of old records you inevitably find in these places. I've got a pretty decent vinyl collection and a turntable hooked up to a nice pair of acoustic energy speakers, so, like the used video games it's always fun to keep an eye out for gems. Usually, it's endless mothballed editions of syrupy crooners like Andy Williams, Phoebe Snow, and Crystal Gayle, that you run across, but occasionally these stacks contain plastic sleeved copies of records by the Cure or Thelonius Monk. I mean, who really buys these things anymore, right?

We were in Snohomish yesterday making the rounds of the many antique shops there, when we entered this one in which everything was uniformly collectible and pristine (and viciously overpriced, but hey, it was all great stuff). As Karen was taking a tour, I spotted some records. True to the rest of the store's high quality, I was shocked by what I found here. A lot of early punk, even some seattle grunge bands, good jazz, and everything in plastic sleeves and in near mint condition.

We aren't exactly rolling deep like Scrooge McDuck at the moment, so Karen made me choose one of the five albums I was dying to buy. The choice was obvious. This has got to be one of the top 5 albums I could choose to own in pristine condition on vinyl, and I nabbed it up for $15 tax included! A bit of searching says this 180g British re-pressing uses the original mix the album was recorded under, and should sound better than the CD. Oddly enough, the only copy of Nevermind I ever owned was the casette my parents gave me for Christmas in '91. I listened to that tape until it didn't play right, but never did pick up the CD.

I didn't listen to Nirvana much in the late 90s after gorging myself on them so much in my junior-high and high school years, but sweet lord this album still sounds so good! I am still simply baffled at the turn this band took from producing an album like Bleach (which rocks heavily, don't get me wrong), to this. Minus the two slow songs, which do provide a good change-up pace, and Territorial Pissings, which is more of a three cord speed-freak out (but still lovely), where is the low point on this record? There just isn't one. Some very weird things happened to Nirvana between '88 and '90. Kurt's talents as a songwriter blossomed but also became incredibly efficient and focused. The addition of Dave Grohl's drums and unique backing vocals was also huge.

This shop also had copies of Bleach, the soundtrack to Shock Treatment (looking out 222b!), and the Ramones' first two albums, all in perfect shape for $8 a piece, so I'll be going back.

Played the album once last night at low volume and it sounded great. About to really blast the shit out of it now as nobody's home.
Jan. 24th, 2008 @ 10:22 am australian open upset
Don't know if there are any tennis fans out there, but watching (38th ranked-basically total nobody) Jo-Wilfred Tsonga defeat (2nd ranked top-spin clay court super star) Rafael Nadal last night in the semi-finals of the Australian Open was one of the most thrilling 2 hours of television I've ever sat through. Nadal had not dropped a single set in his 6 matches prior to this one (understandably, he beats major ass), but somehow, ubelievably, I got to watch as this beautiful, towering black man from France come out of NOWHERE, and just dismantled him in STRAIGHT SETS 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.

I mean, I just kept waiting for the young (22) Tsonga to start messing up. It was the the most important match of his career so far, and he played it with the cool nonchalance of a veteran ballet dancer, or a boxer. Half the fun came from listening to the 3 veteran tennis announcers go from curious but skeptical, to raised eyebrows, to the end of the match when they were sputtering in disbelief and giggling like children.

If you're into the whole "a star is born" thing (Tsonga's days as a nobody are over), or if you just enjoy watching the human body move at its poetic finest, you will not want to miss this guy play in the finals (most likely against the best in the world, Roger Federer). The match will air live a half hour after midnight on Sunday, and you'll enjoy it even if you don't know what an ace is.
Jan. 16th, 2008 @ 11:48 pm What Do You Have To Say? - Best. Concert. Ever.
What's the best concert you've ever been to?
Nirvana/ In Utero tour/ Jan. 1994/ seattle center arena/ fourth row-ish
Dec. 8th, 2007 @ 02:20 pm Best day so far
Was almost two weeks ago now, down in the radiology lab at UW's Harborview Medical Center.  That's where this scruffy, but very capable young ultrasound technician named Elliot told Karen and I that what we were looking at on the monitor there was a little girl.

Yup, Karen and I (mostly Karen) have been pregnant with our first child for about 5 months now, and will be expecting this addition to our family sometime in April.  I'd been waiting for the right time to record this news here, and the time is obviously now.  I won't get into all the crazy anxieties and questions I have about what being a parent is actually going to feel like, but suffice to say that we've been fortunate enough to have some excellent role models in our own parents, and are a bit giddy with excitement.

Psst, come closer:  Her name is almost definitely going to be Alice.  I hope this doesn't weird her out if she reads it someday.  Okay, now I'm weirded out.

Mike never got to hear that we were going to have a daughter, but he was tickled as beans when I told him about the pregnancy.  Not feeling quite as pontificatingly dramatic as yesterday so I'll stop here, but yes, mighty storms of change are brewing on the horizon.
Dec. 7th, 2007 @ 05:16 pm secret post
Yee haw! Zanac's on virtual console!
Dec. 7th, 2007 @ 11:26 am Worst day so far
Was yesterday.  Yesterday was the day I and about 100 other people put my best friend's body in the ground.  I played and sang a song by the Screaming Trees for him at the funeral that the two of us used to play in my bedroom a lot when we were 14 or so.

Karen and I were with my parents, coming back from the airport late Sunday night when I got a phone call that Mike had been in a car accident.  Five days later, it is still impossible that he's actually gone.  We had big plans. 

We shared: high school Japanese class for 4 years, the release of Final Fantasy III, discovering pot, the tennis team in high school, subverting the agenda of our senior yearbook from the inside, so much guitar playing and howling at my house (mudhoney to nirvana to built to spill to our own shit), the first day of college, secret conversations about our first serious girl friends, rock climbing (I remember one late night, crossing the UW campus after a party, me stupidly climbing 30 feet up a column outside of the Physics building, not being able to get down, and looking down at Mike, asking him to catch me right before I fell. I would've squashed him if he'd tried), being dorm mates for 2 quarters, living together again after my year away in Japan, driving up to Vancouver at 10 o clock on a September morning heading North over the curve of the Lions Gate bridge toward wilderness adventure...

What with 3 years of the JET program, and 2 years at grad school in Santa Barbara, Mike and I hadn't seen much of each other over the past 5 years.  Pretty much what we could sneak in during my visits home for the holidays and such.  He was waiting for me though.  Waiting for me to move back here so we could pick up being brothers where we'd last had to put it down.  It was 4 months ago when Mike started calling me in Santa Barbara, starting the work of convincing me that flying to Seattle for our 10 year high school reunion was somehow a good idea.  I resisted at first, but thank god he broke me down.  We were both so stoked when he pulled up in his honda sportscar at baggage claim to get me, and the reunion was actually a good, sloppy time.

We've been back up in Seattle now since Oct. 10th or so, and we got to see Mike a good number of times in the last two months.  There was talk of house buying, of futures.  And that's what I'll be trying to get my head around for the rest of my life, I think.  How we could be having a cigarette, joking with my mom on the deck, finally reunited just last week, just like the old days, and now he's in the ground, and I will have to do all the rest of this without him.

All this, and still, he was only my friend.  My heart goes out to John and Susie, to whom he was a first born son, and to Arielle, to whom he was the world, and the missing piece.

I love you Mike, and I will miss you forever.

Next: The best day so far
Oct. 31st, 2007 @ 07:29 pm Happy Helloween!

So we're down in West Seattle house sitting for Karen's aunt and uncle and fantasizing that we actually live in their awesome 1940s house. 

These two kids came to the door for trick or treating purposes, and we realized we had no candy! (never been in this position before)  I dug  two Atkins Zone bars out of the pantry for them and then made a mad dash to the store to buy any wrapped chocolate chunks I could get my hands on while Karen stayed home with the lights out and the shutters up to ward off any goblins until I got back.

Got home, threw on the lights, put the candies in the bowl, and BOOM, like 5 kids showed up at the door.

They were about 10, with dad hanging back at the end of the walkway.
Me: Whoa! Look at you guys! Who are you supposed to be?!
A pasty faced skeleton boy in an adidas jumpsuit: I'm the Angel of Death and this is my brother and this is my cousin!

and then they took their candy and left!

I'm having way too much fun here.
Oct. 21st, 2007 @ 12:11 pm TOPTHAT/STOPTHAT
We're back in Washington. Living in my brother's bedroom. It's pretty cold and wet and windy. Watching the house (8 cats + 4 dogs) while the folks are down in San Fran, on a vacation. Caught John Vanderslice at Neumo's on Wed. night. Got to speak with him a bit at the merch table after the show while K was buying a t-shirt. 

Us: "We saw you a couple of years ago in Kyoto and Osaka!"
JV: "Hey, cool! (doubletake) wait, you what?!

The two of us also sat through the way-too-80s-for-its-own-good "halloween" flick "Teen Witch" on TV a couple days back, which, true to it's namesake, explores the good-natured mischief a shy high school girl might get into if they suddenly found themselves with witchy powers. Providing they weren't in a Stephen King novel, in which case they'd just climb the social ladder by slaughtering everyone at the homecoming dance. No, in Teen Witch, revenge is a dish best served with a side of "hardcore rappin".

Also walked in on the disturbing last hour of Sorcese's "Taxi Driver," last night which I hadn't seen before. It was disturbing not as much for the climactic, violent ending, but more for seeing familiar actors 30 years younger in more twisted roles than they'd ever play today (a rail-thin strung out De Niro, Keitel as a long-haired, muscle-bound pimp, and a 14 year-old Jodie Foster as a spaced out child prostitute).

We continue to get settled into being unsettled up here.